Most patients with back pain neck pain and sports injuries do not need an X-ray. The majority of injuries that cause pain are to the soft tissues which either do not show up on X-ray or are quite poorly visualised. However, in some circumstances an X-ray can be an exceptionally useful diagnostic tool, particularly when you suspect the pain is arising from bone or a joint.
Patients with a recent history of trauma, certain types of cancer, new episodes of back pain they havent experienced before that have not resolved in 6 weeks, pain at night, unexplained weight loss or temperature, certain types of bowel disease or a family history of certain types of arthritis my be advised to have an X-ray before treatment. We might also advise an X-ray if something unusual crops up during the examination that may require referral to another Specialist or change how we might treat your condition.
For more information if you think you might need an X-ray the "Choosing Wisely Campaign" offers more detailed information http://www.choosingwisely.org/patient-resources/imaging-tests-for-back-pain/.
DEXA (Osteoporosis) Scans
pDexa (peripheral DEXA) scans are a screening tool for Osteoporosis. They involve a tiny X-Ray of the heel, and in 2 minutes you receive a printout showing your bone density, accurate and repeatable to 2%. The criteria are quite narrow to get a DEXA scan on the NHS, often requiring a fracture to have occured before you qualify for a scan. We feel this is "shutting the door after the horse has bolted" and ealy treatment results in a far better outcome. If we do find you are Osteoporotic on our peripheral scan we will contact your GP as you will then qualify for an NHS Scan of the Spine and Hips.
Blood Tests / MRI / C-T / Ultrasound and Specialist Imaging
Very occasionally something crops up during your consultation that might require further specialist investigation not possible at the clinic. In these circustances we would write to your GP / Consultant providing them with the relevent details to facilitate the necessary investigations. If you have had recent NHS X-rays MRI's or C-T scans, we have an excellent working relationship with NHS Highland and can request copies of the images from Raigmore. To avoid duplication and wasting time, our X-rays can be extracted onto the NHS system (if requested by your GP or Consultant).